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Recognising hate crime is a first step to putting a stop to it. Hate crime is any criminal act motivated by prejudice against someone's race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse/insults, or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).


What do I do now?

Hate crimes can be hurtful, confusing and frightening. But many incidents go unreported because victims mistrust the authorities or feel they will not be taken seriously, or they're afraid to go to court to give evidence.

We take hate crime very seriously and would encourage you to tell us if you, or someone you know, is being targeted.

Reporting hate crime could help to stop it happening to someone else. It will also help us to better understand the level of hate crime in Gloucestershire, improve the way we respond to it and provide greater help when you need it most.

There are a number of ways you can report hate crime.

Gloucestershire Constabulary



If you do not want to talk to the police or fill in the reporting forms, you can still report a hate crime by contacting Crimestoppers.

You do not have to give your name and what you say is confidential. It is free to call.


Gloucestershire Hate Crime and Incident Strategic Group

If you prefer not to go directly to the police, you can also report a hate crime through a third party.


What happens next?

If you call 999 in an emergency, then the police will come immediately to where you are.

If this is not an emergency but an ongoing situation and you don’t want the police to come to your address, we can make arrangements to meet you somewhere else. We have officers who are specially-trained to deal with hate crimes with sensitivity and tact.

You don't have to suffer in silence. Tell us. We can discuss your concerns and talk about what options are available to you.

If there is a criminal investigation which leads to a prosecution and you are asked to go to court, 'special measures' can be made to protect you and safeguard your anonymity. You can read more about this in the downloads of our 'Victims and witnesses' page.




What else can I do?

There are various support agencies in Gloucestershire and across the UK who can offer you support and guidance.

Other organisations that can help



Social media and hate crime

The police have a duty to safeguard victims of hate crime in the community, but don't have the power to control offensive messages and posts on social media unless they are shared illegally. 

Illegal material could include:

  • messages calling for racial or religious violence
  • web pages with descriptions, videos or pictures that glorify violence against anyone due to their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity
  • chat forums inciting people to commit hate crimes

Laws about offensive material on the internet are defined in a way that balances freedom of expression with the right to be free from hate crime. But if you are being targeted because of who you are over social networks, this could be classed as a hate crime and should be reported.

Further advice on what to do about online hate material can be found here.

Page last updated: 11 January 2018